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i *heart* creative juices

So last week I was browsing the blogs I have marked and while reading P3290001 Cathy Zielske's, I was introduced to my new messenger bag.  It came today.  I adore it.  Seriously.   It has the coolest little keychain inside.  I had a really hard time deciding what fabric to go with, but I'm glad that Steph convinced me to go bold and get the green paisley.  It's fabulous.  Anyway, it's from elisalou designs - she has some really cool bucket bags as well, and her jewelry is pretty awesome too.P3290002   I may become a return customer :)

So... on to the creative juices thing. 

One of the things I love the most is when my creativity really gets ramped up and I just can't keep from coming up with ideas... when I have to carry a notebook constantly and I sketch during my meetings at work.  Lately, however, I've been coming up with more ideas than I can handle and yet I'm feeling totally inferior about everything that comes out of it.  I think it's wonderful when I do it, but then I look at the work of other artists I admire and I just want to round-file the hole thing. 

Enter Rhonna.  I mentioned earlier that I'm a big fan of Rhonna Farrer's work.  She has this challenge that she does on her website called the 21-Day Challenge.  The premise is that any habit can be made or broken in 21 days.  She ties in art as a way of keeping yourself on task and working out issues - you complete a page or layout in an art journal ever day for 21 days; each day there's a different quote that goes with the theme that you work from.  For anyone who's at all familiar with art journaling, it's a very cathartic practice.  I've always wanted to try it, but I was always worried that it wouldn't come out looking perfect, or cool, or funky, or just amazing like all of the art journals that I'm familiar with.  How can I be scared of my own art and what's inside of me, though?  So, this week as I've been reading the daily quotes that are posted as the inspiration for each day of the challenge, I realized that all of those quotes were practically shouting at me.  It was *exactly* what I needed to hear and at the right time.  So, I decided to use the challenge to not only get over my feelings of inferiority about my own work, but to attempt to achieve the goals that I've set for myself over the last few weeks, that I've been struggling with.  I'm a few days behind, but today I got a notebook and started.  How totally freeing!  Anyway, here's the first page. 

The quote to kick off the journal is by M. Russel Ballard: 

"I am thouroughly convinced that if we don't set goals in our life and learn how to master the technique of living to reach our goals, we can reach a ripe old age and and look back on our life only to see that we reached but a small part of our full potential.  When you learn to master the principle of setting a goal, you will then be able to make a great difference in the results you attain in this life."

So... here's day one :)

P3290004 P3290005

It looks better in real life... lol.  I ADORE my Prismacolor pencils and my new white pens.  Pure bliss.  I feel so much better just having done this!  Getting all caught up in it helped me get one day further in my goals all by itself!

Playing with Photoshop

So, since I don't really have anything significant to say (other than... did anyone else see the Caps SMOKE the 'Canes last night in Raleigh?  NICE!), I thought I'd play with my blog.  I've been meaning to create some art for my header for a while now... I bought the service upgrade MONTHS ago to give me that flexibility, just never did it.  So, finally, thanks to some inspiration from the totally *Amazing* Rhonna Farrer and her scrumptious digital kits, I have some art.  I'm not a Photoshop wizard by any means, but I do enjoy playing with brushes and images.  I'm learning a little more all the time and it's a kick.  Anyway, her workshop at the convention in Paris is my first choice, so hopefully I'll get to meet her.  So, that's all I have to say, really.  Other than, Caps and Habs tonight at 7:30.  I do love my Caps, I really do, but there's NO WAY they're going go the playoffs this year and the Habs need the points to stay in the race, so for tonight, go Montréal!

More Projects and a Funny Email

Okay, so last night I taught another class at the scrapbook store.  We had morP3170014_1e fun chatting, I think, than we did actually working on the project... lol.  They seemed to enjoy it, though.  Anyway, I did a handmade album where I can keep track of my birthdays through the years - or up until 35, lol.  I don't want to think further ahead than that ;)  Anyway, the rest of the pics for this little treasure are here.

And speaking of scrapbooking, I was actually doing some serious brainstorming on the treadmill this morning (which is, of course, the source of all of my good ideas... lol. )  Because I really don't have enough to do, enough projects, or enough stress in general, I've decided to come up with an all new scrapbook class series that I'm planning to kick off at my local store.  I'm actually really excited about it, but my little list ideas is already huge.  I'm going to have to ease into this slowly, but it's going to be really fun.  I always enjoy a nice new challenge, especially when I can use it to expand my creativity.

Final scrapbooking blurb of the day... I've mentioned to a few people that I've found the *perfect* scrapbook related event for me.  It's a 3-day convention held in Paris.  Well, right outside Paris, actually... in Issy.  Hello.  How totally cool is that?  A few of my favorite people from the industry will be there teaching workshops, so I'm totally psyched for that.  I've been emailing with the show people to work out the details of international attendance (bleh... going to have to find time to get to the bank when they're open [fat chance] and figure out an international money transfer.  Joy.), so hopefully I can get registration worked out soon. Anyway, October in Paris is fabulous, so I can't wait!

Last thought for now... not really a thought, I got a funny email forwarded by a co-worker today that was highly entertaining for me, so I thought I'd post it.  Here you go, enjoy :)

A little boy goes to his father and asks "Daddy, how was I born?"
The father answers: "Well son, I guess one day you'll need to find out anyway...
Your Mom and I first got together in a chat room on Yahoo. [Ahem.  Edited to be ;)]
Then I set up a date via e-mail with your Mom and we met at a cyber-cafe.
We sneaked into a secluded room, where your mother agreed to a download from my hard drive.
As soon as I was ready to upload, we discovered that neither one of us had used a firewall, and since it was too late to hit the delete button, nine months later a little pop-up appeared that said:  You've got Male.

Late Night Ramblings

I've just got too much energy tonight... I haven't been able to settle down yet, so I decided to attend to my iPod.  I've been wanting to update my playlists and download some new tracks for a few months, now.  With getting packed up and moving, I just never got around to it, so tonight I finally caught up. 

Top 5 Downloads of the Day:

1.) James Blunt - Beautiful (because it's been on my list since it was released... doh).

2.) Smile Empty Soul - Bottom of a Bottle (rediscovered this one)

3.) Buckcherry - Crazy B***h (because Steph dared me to and it's just catchy... lol)

4.) The Chemical Brothers - Galvinize (it just rocks)

5.) Timo Maas - Devil Feel (just found them, enjoying it so far!)

Oh, and as I was out aquiring another Phalaenopsis for my living room, I picked up a book entitled "Snobs."  LOL.  I had to.  It was just too perfect.  It's by the guy who wrote Gosford Park, Julien Fellowes.  I also picked up the new Frances Mayes - "A Year in the World."  I'm really looking forward to both of them, although I have to admit that I have a habit of picking up books that sound good and then never getting around to reading them.  I should probably check out my own bookcase before I go buying more books, huh?  Oh well.  This is more fun :D  Well, that being said, maybe I'll read for a bit and see if I can get to sleep now that it's 2:30am :-P

2 Months Today

It's my 2 month anniversary!  I just have to say that.  I can't believe I've already been in my place for 2 months, and at the same time I feel like I've lived there forever.  Anyway, I had pretty much decided a while ago that I'm not going to have a housewarming party, but it might be possible to talk me out of that decision, lol.  We'll see.  I've been unpacked with curtains up since the first week I moved in, so it just feels pointless now.  LOL.  Oh well...

Anyway, in tribute, here's my cozy little living room at my favorite time of day, sunset.   I love when the sun comes through the window and makes the room glow, just one of those little things that makes me happy :)


Now picture this after my tax return next year... with my beautiful Pottery Barn ivory wrap-around couch.  Sigh.

My Celebrity Look

Thanks, Tara, for reminding me about Tickle!  I had to go and take a quick quiz, just to get my fix :)

Take this test at Tickle

Your celebrity look is the Mysterious Look!

Who can say what goes on behind that Mysterious Look? No one for sure, because you love to keep them guessing. Your secretive ways are as intriguing as your exotic beauty. Maybe it's your deep, dreamy eyes, or maybe it's that elusive smile that hides something more. As a nonconformist by nature, you tend to fuse different fashions into unique combinations that express the real you—marrying the vintage with the modern or the classic with the eclectic. Like your celebrity counterparts, Winona Ryder and Juliette Binoche, you're always open to intelligent discussion and experimental jewelry and makeup. By playing up your intense features with deep lipsticks and an alluring eye shadow, you're both captivating and unpredictable.

Plus, the picture even got it right!  I do have quite a bit of black in my wardrobe... lol.   I don't look that good with short hair, however :-P

My Big News!

Okay, so it's not super big or exciting *really*, but I'm really psyched about it, so I'm sharing.  I just got named as a finalist in the Chatterbox Make-it-Meaningful scrapbook contest for the 2nd year in a row.  That means that they're going to be publishing my album, I get awesome free goodies, and I get a chance to win the grand prize!  I'm not actually going to win (although the fantasizing is fun... lol), because there are some really amazing stories out there and I know one of them will get the nod.  I'm just thrilled to be picked and included in this group!  Anyway, that's my news!  Yay me!


More Test Results ;)

As Steph said when she posted hers, how could I NOT post this?  LOL.  I do enjoy taking all of these little tests... so much fun!  Especially when I'm not really able to do anything else because I'm missing my stupid computer... (see post below.  Sigh). 

You're an Passionate Kisser
For you, kissing is about all about following your urges
If someone's hot, you'll go in for the kiss - end of story
You can keep any relationship hot with your steamy kisses
A total spark plug - your kisses are bound to get you in trouble

Bad Karma

I'm just having one of those runs of bad luck.  Things are just not going well - I'm about 2 inches short of swearing off all interaction with electronic devices of any kind.  Why?  Well first were some email issues on Saturday where I sent an email to an entire listserve instead of the one person it was intended for.  It wasn't really a bad email, but it *sounded* bad thanks to my word choice (you'd think someone who studied English and Linguistics for all those years would be better with that) and it ended up sounding like I have issues with someone that I actually think is awesome.  Sigh. 

THEN, last night I got home from my parents' house where I was helping to take care of my grandparents while my parents are taking a much needed break at the beach... I thought, I'll just turn on the Avs game and chill out in my room, right?  I turn on the TV and the DirecTV receiver didn't turn on.  Weird... so I press the button which gives me a message which reads "Good hardware gone bad.  Call DirecTV."  Does that sound good?  No, no it doesn't.  The guy on the phone was like, well, there's a fix for that.  It's called a replacement.  So, I called the people that provide the service for my complex and they were like, yeah, we're working through all of our complexes and replacing them and it might be a while - we'll call you when we get to your area to let you know when you'll need to be there.  I thought I called customer service, but apparently I called the "too bad, suck it up and deal with it until we get to you" line.  Sigh.

So.  Was it any surprise that when I came into my office this morning and pressed the power button on my computer that nothing happened?  No, I'm not kidding.  My computer died.  So here I sit typing on a borrowed laptop with no mouse - I hate touch pads.  I really do.  Anyway, I think that if anything else happens, I'm going to move to Amish country and take up carriage polishing or something like that.

I LOVE Fridays

Wow, it's been a week.  One of those that seems to fly by at the same time that it drags.  I look back and wonder how it got to be Friday without my realizing it, and yet at the same time, each day seemed to take forever.

I woke up this morning having dreams about work... I've been working on a report since Tuesday - making changes, customizing, and doing all kinds of fantastic data things with it in conjunction with a major forecasting effort that's due this week.  I had dreams about making numbers match.  When I got in this morning, I pulled up my reporting tool to go in and see if my update had gone through overnight, and lo and behold, all of my orders were GONE!  Poof!  I had a small freak session... just a wee one.  Marketing Analysis told me that there was an issue loading the data tables last night.  Ya think?  Fortunately, it resolved quickly, my update went through, and we just finished the process of making all of our numbers add up and match.  Sigh of relief. 

My boss and I took a quick break to go grab sandwiches - they have a new grilled cheese sandwich bar in our bistro.  Mmmm.  Cheese.  I had this Lucerne one with low fat cheese and olive tapanade on ciabatta that was just FABULOUS.  Shana and I got to laughing as we're talking between cubes about our numbers as I, out of the blue, recognize that they've made the tapanade with kalamata olives.  Yes, I think I've just hit another milestone on my march towards sheer pretention.  LOL.  Anyway, that was an amazing sandwich.

So, I made banana bread last night.  I was really excited to make banana bread.  The batter was delicious, my condo smelled like heaven for HOURS, but when I pulled it out to taste... well, it was all light and fluffy.  Who, I ask you.  WHO? makes Light and Fluffy banana bread?!?!?  It drives me NUTS!  No matter what kind of bread I make, it's light and fluffy.  I know, many people strive for that result... but not with banana bread!  Oh well, it tastes good, but I'm still peeved.  Maybe I'll try a different recipe next time :-P

Anyway, none of that really matters because  it's Friday.  It's GORGEOUS outside, it's going to be a *beautiful* weekend, and once we finish forecasting, we're probably going to jet out a little early.  I LOVE Fridays!!!

I'm New York :D

You Are New York
Cosmopolitan and sophisticated, you enjoy the newest in food, art, and culture.
You also appreciate a good amount of grit - and very little shocks you.
You're competitive, driven, and very likely to succeed.

Famous people from New York: Sarah Michelle Gellar, Tupac Shakur, Woody Allen

Thought for the Day

Read this poem on another blog... it just seemed to be what I needed to hear today.  Good thoughts.

After awhile you learn the subtle difference

between holding a hand and chaining a soul

and you learn that love doesn’t mean leaning

and company doesn’t mean security

you begin to learn that kisses aren’t contracts

and presents aren’t promises

accepting your defeats with your head up

and your eyes open

with the grace of an adult, not the grief of a child

and you learn to build all of your roads on today

because tomorrow’s ground is too uncertain for plans

after awhile you learn that even sunshine burns

if you get too much

so you plant your own garden and decorate your own soul

instead of waiting for someone to bring you flowers

and you learn

that you really can endure

that you really are strong

and that you really do have worth

- Veronica Shofstall   (thanks, Steph!)

The Oscars

Okay, I realize that I'm a day late and at least a dollar short here, but I was waiting for one of my favorite sites to update with its review.  See... Steph and I spent pretty much the entire pre-Oscar portion of the evening trying to determine which of the glittering red carpet spectacles were fug-worthy.  Did we care about the Oscars themselves?  No.  Not really.  See, I didn't see most of the films, and there were several that I hadn't even heard of before watching the awards.  I like Jon Stewart - I think he's a riot, and I like any TV show that's basically an excuse to eat "special" Sunday evening TV treats.  So, we ate dinner (homemade baked ziti... yummy) and watched the pre-show where we were seriously entertained; not only by Seacrest's female co-host and her really bad case of the chills, but by some of the atrocious outfits that made an appearance that night.  Of course, as much as I'd like to give my own reviews of some of the monstrosities that came sachezing down the red carpet, I'm going to claim a rare moment of humility and publicly declare myself incapable of giving appropriate descriptions.  So, I defer to the queens of snark.  Enjoy. 

Fat Free Day

Okay, so on the way into work this morning as I was waiting for my conference call to start, I happened to catch the tail end of an interesting interview on the radio.  There was an author, Jessica Weiner, who was talking about "the language of fat."  Of course, that immediately caught my attention.  She was talking about how women have a tendency to discuss, compare, etc... and base so much of life around body image and size.  Especially size in comparison to others.  It was fascinating (better summary here).  Anyway, today is apparently a "fat free day."  That does NOT mean that we're to eat no fat, it means that we're supposed to make the effort to go the entire day without relating everything we do or don't do back to our physical (or perceived physical) shortcomings.  Interesting challenge.  It really made me stop and realize that there hasn't been a day in my life (that I can remember) where I haven't thought or spoken multiple times about how I don't live up to my own physical standards.  Standards which are, of course, based on a nearly inachievable public perception of beauty and physical perfection.  Is it possible to go an entire day without speaking "the language of fat?"  I'm not sure... I've never done it.  I might have to try it out :)

And now for something completely different...

P3020002 I have learned (sort of) how to crochet.  This incredibly lovely sample of domestication to my left is incontrovertible evidence that I'm well on my way to becoming the perfect LDS woman.  All I need to do now is can some peaches and make some freezer jam and I'm good to go!

So, after an evening at Enrichment attempting to master the double-crochet technique (which is apparently much more challenging if you're left handed), I was finally able to get this stupid baby blanket started for my soon-to-be-born nephew, Benjamin.  Let's just say he's going to have a VERY one-of-a-kind gift to treasure and carry around with him, à la Linus, for the rest of his life.    Well, I guess it can't be the "rest" of his life since it hasn't really started yet, but you get the picture.  All I can say is that the kid had better appreciate it!

So, picture, if you will, the scene.  Me, on my lovely couch, in my lovely condo, crocheting while watching a hockey game.  LOL.  Good times.

Dream Analysis

Ever have one of those dreams that you just can't wake up from and can't shake?  I had quite an interesting one last night.  The main part of it involved me being in a city that I didn't recognize being chased by a tidal wave that was coming behind me destroying everything in its path.  I was perfectly calm; I knew that I was going to have no trouble getting away and that my home was out of the path and was safe.  As I ran past alleys I would see people and try and warn them what was coming and then they would come out and run with me, but at the same time I was alone.  Weird.  So:

Tidal Wave
To see a tidal wave in your dream, represents an overwhelming emotional issue that demands attention. You may have been keeping your feelings and negative emotions bottled up inside.

"I'm Being Chased"
Chase dreams often stem from feelings of anxiety in your walking life. The way we respond to anxiety and pressure in real life is typically manifested as a chase dream. Running is an instinctive response to physical threats in our environment. Often in these dream scenarios, you are being pursued by some attacker, who wants to hurt or possibly kill you. You are running away, hiding, or trying to outwit your pursuer. Chase dreams may represent your way of coping with fears, stress or various situations in your waking life. Instead of confronting the situation, you are running away and avoiding it.

Paging Mr. Freud.

Daily Funny

Me:  Hey - I'm going downstairs to grab a rice crispy treat.  You want anything?

My Boss:  Ooh... I want a rice crispy treat!

Everyone in the conference room listening to the conference call she was on:  HAHAHAHA

My Boss:  Crap!  I wasn't on mute!

I hate typing with a band-aid on my finger.  You always take your fingers for granted until one of them gets hurt.  Especially the tips of the fingers.  So small... so seemingly insignificant... such a pain in the butt when you get the slightest little injury.  Grr. 

So, I'm kind of a scrapbooking geek... now that I'm blogging more regularly, I'm sure that will come up now and again (okay, maybe even a lot.) - I'll probably post some projects, talk about it, blah blah blah... so don't say I didn't warn you.  Anyway, I teach classes at Scrapbooks Plus in Chantilly.  I haven't taught for a few months what with the grandparents moving in, the holidays, and me moving out, so last night was the first class in a while.  It was pretty fun - right up until 5 minutes into it when I was passing out my handouts and, while trying to pull some random fluff off of one of them, I caught my fingertip on a staple and just ripped it open.  Nice.  Fortunately the bleeding was Coverquickly stemmed and one of the ladies had a band-aid.  Scrapbooking, which involves copious amounts of paper, doesn't work well with blood.  Just take my word on that.  Anyway, it was a class on handwriting, so we did some fun little exercises and a mini-album.   I always enjoy pulling these together, even though I never actually use any of the projects I come up with for classes... lol.  I have a big stack of them.  Oh well, they look pretty on my shelf.  I love playing with handwriting, though.  More of my geekiness showing through (although the class seemed more impressed with my tips on how to cheat on your lettering by using the computer.  Sigh).  Oh, and to all of you who LAUGHED at me, they were impressed and inspired when I showed them the shopping list I did in calligraphy.  Really.  lol.  Okay, maybe not.  But if not, they pretended really well.  Anyway, here's a link to the rest of the project for the 2 people who might be interested ;)  At least this will pay my HOA fees for the month!